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Culture by Dr. Gary Tithecott


It is said by many that success is driven by the culture within an organization. Events of the past week drove that home for me and left a lasting impression – here’s why.

As I close out the fifth year of my term as Associate Dean for the UME program, I have been privileged to work with many outstanding individuals – staff and faculty colleagues with our London and Windsor campuses, in addition to our Distributed Education program. Each day, they make a difference for learners in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education – while being strong community contributors, educators, scholars and caregivers.

The students I’ve met have also made key impressions – ones that endure.

I was honoured to be asked by Meds 2019 to speak to the final Interview Weekend cohorts about why they should choose Schulich Medicine. As I gave my top 10 reasons, I realized that a short hallway discussion with two leaders in Meds 2019 on why they chose the School is the real – as Western’s Provost aptly terms it – “secret sauce”. Both students spoke on why our School was the only place they interviewed that was genuine in offering peer support – one-to-one for the interview process.

This drove home what has been evident in many outcome measures: it is our student culture – one of support and inclusivity – that makes the difference.

The invitation to attend the Visual Arts and Medicine Club session on March 30 was a highlight and drove home another key message. While our students excel as medical experts and scholars, their talents and interests outside medicine lead to an impressive life balance.

With deep regrets, I cannot attend the ultimate demonstration of this talent – the annual Tachycardia production. Not only does Tachycardia fundraise for a key regional group, the ability of students to express themselves and showcase their talents as artists, writers, managers, collaborators, and as members of small and large teams, is what I enjoy the most while attending.

While the humour and messages (obvious and hidden) are always enjoyable, there is a reason parents and families of students drive to see it – it is a great celebration of our “secret sauce”.

The smiles I always see at Tachycardia and witnessed at the Admissions interviews this weekend – from students and their families – are what I reflect on as defining our culture. A culture where we support, nurture, and offer every opportunity for our students to succeed. Most importantly, it is one where students succeed with their peers, not just as individuals.

We are proud to be shaping these future physicians who will redefine medicine in the coming decades.

So, while I am overseas, I will be thinking with sadness of what I will be missing at Tachycardia this year. While I know each participant in that process will make our School proud – as this past weekend showed all new applicants to Meds 2020.

However, I do not have to go far to see the smiles and our positive culture – it is in the halls, hospitals and rooms of our School.

As for Tachycardia…I am buying the DVD and cannot wait to watch!


Dr. Gary Tithecott